Minutes: February 9, 2012

The regular meeting of the Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA) of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 9, 2012 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on December 18, 2011, and was posted on the bulletin board in the municipal building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-6.

Salute to the Flag

Mayor Marotta led the assemblage in the salute to the flag.

Oath of Office

Mayor Marotta administered the oath of office, reappointing Vincent Zinno, commissioner and appointing James Kensek, Alternate #2.

The mayor thanked all commissioners for their service to the township.

Roll Call of Members

Thomas Buchney (arrived 7:06 p.m.)P
Barbara ChorzepaP
Doug DobrzynskiP
Gloria Frato-GalloP
James Kensek (arrived 7:05 p.m.)P
Vincent Zinno, Vice ChairmanP
Edward H. Rolando, ChairmanP

Also in Attendance

Mayor Vic Marotta
John Ursin, Esq.
John Rolak, Engineer
Chuck Ferraioli, Auditor
Aida Cahill, Secretary

Minutes for Approval

Minutes of the regular meeting from December 1, 2011

Moved: Vincent Zinno
Second: Doug Dobrzynski

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Buchney, Frato-Gallo, Zinno, Rolando
Nays: None
Abstain: Chorzepa, Kensek
Minutes from December 1, 2011 were approved.

Correspondence

SCMUA

Certificate of Annual Charge indicated a credit due to Vernon Township of $72,098 as a result of the 2011 estimated bill being greater than the actual amount.

2012 Rate Schedule which was adopted following a Rate Hearing held in November of 2011.

Applications

Vernon Valley Investors

A letter will be sent to KZA Engineering requesting additional escrow of $2,500 to review the application resubmission. Mr. Rolak explained that the original application contained incorrect information, as well as design problems with the pumping station. Mr. Rolak stated that a written accounting of how the escrow had been used would be provided to the MUA by Hatch Mott MacDonald (HMM).

Mr. Ursin suggested that standard escrow amounts be adopted by resolution when the MUA sends out connection notices.

Mr. Rolak suggested that a connection application form be drafted.

Interlocal Agreements

The renewal contract for HMM was postponed until the next MUA meeting in March.

Motion to approve CFO/MUA Interlocal Agreement
Moved: Vincent Zinno
Second: Thomas Buchney

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Buchney, Chorzepa, Frato-Gallo, Zinno, Rolando
Nays: None
CFO/MUA Interlocal Agreement was approved.

The DPW/MUA Interlocal Agreement was reviewed. A description of services being offered was questioned. A salary of $22.15 per hour for salary, $177.20 per day and $170 for benefits per two day work week were discussed.

Open to Public

Seeing no one from the public wishing to speak, the meeting was then closed to the public.

Bills List

A disbursement journal was reviewed containing itemized bills for the NJ Herald and MUA Secretary.

Mr. Ferraioli stated that in order to spend money a budget must be implemented.

Motion to authorize payment of the bills list.
Moved: Barbara Chorzepa
Second: Vincent Zinno

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Buchney Chorzepa, Frato-Gallo, Zinno, Rolando
Nays: None
The bills list was approved.

Subcommittee Report

Mr. Zinno and Ms. Frato-Gallo met with Mr. Ferraioli and Mr. Ursin to review information regarding current and future costs of operating the sewer system. It was noted that United Water billed their customers using meters, and the MUA would be converting to the Equivalent Dwelling Unit (EDU) system. This conversion resulted in an estimated $780 per user, per year, per EDU. A 15% increase was calculated resulting in a rate of $897.00 per EDU which would be a $117 yearly increase to each user. Mr. Zinno suggested splitting the increase up over time, making the rate $838.50, and readjusting after one year.

It was noted that United Water had not increased the rate in 15 years.

Discounting the connection fee by 50% for users who hooked up to the sewer in the first 9 months was discussed.

Ms. Chorzepa requested a map of the sewer service area including a block and lot listing.

Mr. Rolak cautioned against establishing a rate that would be too low to start with, otherwise it may be necessary to raise the rate too sharply at a future time. Mr. Rolak suggested keeping the rate as stable as possible.

Mr. Ursin stated that he would prepare a resolution on an EDU fee for the next meeting. Mr. Ferraioli suggested using the $840.00 rate previously discussed. Mr. Ursin reminded the commissioners that the EDU rate could be changed at any time, but that he would enter $840.00 as the rate for Mr. Ferraioli to use when creating the budget.

Connection Fee

There was discussion regarding offering a reduced connection fee for those new users who would hook up to the sewer system in the first year. Reducing the currently established connection fee was also discussed.

Mr. Rolak suggested an alternative to lowering the connection fee by giving an extended period of time over which the fee could be paid. Mr. Ursin stated that the MUA previously decided to consider extended time for payment on a case by case basis.

It was noted that the current connection fee is among the lowest connection fees in Sussex County.

Mr. Ursin stated that he would prepare a resolution for the next meeting, offering a 50% reduction in the connection fee if hookup was in the first 12 months.

Mr. Ferraioli will prepare the budget for next meeting and explained that there would be a public meeting on the budget in April.

MUA Discussion

Mr. Rolando stated that there was a problem gaining access to the pump station. Mr. Rolak stated that he would check with the HMM electrical department for the password.

Mr. Rolando questioned the time frame for a closing date with United Water. Mr. Ursin explained that there were some complicated issues regarding United Water and Mountain Creek, with respect to past allocations and who held what future allocations. Mr. Ursin stated that good progress with those discussions was being made and that there was good reason to think that they would conclude shortly. If so, a March closing would be possible. It was further explained that the sewer system would then belong to the township, and the township would turn over the operation of the system to the MUA.

Mr. Rolando reported that he spoke to Gerald Kastner regarding a March 2012 start date as collection system licensed operator.

Motion to hire Gerald Kastner, starting March 1, 2012
Moved: Barbara Chorzepa
Second: Gloria Frato-Gallo
All commissioners voted in favor.

Adjournment

There being no further items to be conducted, a motion for adjournment was made by Barbara Chorzepa. Motion seconded by Vincent Zinno with all commissioners voting in favor.

The regular meeting of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority was adjourned at 8:35 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Aida Cahill
MUA Secretary

Minutes approved: March 19, 2012